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Immigration & Criminal Law Can Sometimes Overlap

 Posted on April 11,2024 in Uncategorized

Virginia residents who are new to the United States are often wary of dealing with law enforcement. This is understandable, but sometimes these interactions are unavoidable.

According to the law, there are instances in which law enforcement officers need a warrant to make an arrest. In others, they do not. When officers are investigating certain cases and a person who they believe might be an illegal immigrant is involved in alleged criminal activity, both criminal procedure and immigration can be involved. People in this situation should be aware of their legal rights and options.

People in the United States illegally can be arrested for it

Virginia law says that, under certain situations, law enforcement officers have the power to make arrests without a warrant. That includes State Police, sheriffs, members of a city or town police force, U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard reserves, members of the Capitol Police and others.

Law enforcement officers can arrest a person without a warrant if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person committed or is in the process of committing a crime. If they believe the person is in the country illegally, they can enforce immigration laws against them, after first contacting the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and verifying the person's status.

The following must be found:

  • The person is in the country illegally
  • They have been convicted of a prior felony in the United States
  • They were deported or departed the country following the conviction

The defendant must be taken to a hearing before a magistrate or other authority where the officer will testify under oath about the case.

People in this situation should know their rights

Being accused of criminal wrongdoing is difficult enough, but it can be incredibly hard for a person whose immigration status is at risk. There are options to try and fight deportation. If someone you know is in this difficult situation, experienced professionals can explain how criminal law and immigration issues interact with each other in the specific circumstances of their case.

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